Are You Safe at Lake Chapala ?
May 19, 2012
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We’ve all heard that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Crime is like that too. Each person has his or her idea of crime and their connection to it.
Many of our families and friends have always worried that we might be a little crazy for moving here to Lake Chapala because it’s in Mexico, which of course is based on the news accounts they’ve read over the years. Can you say “sensationalism”?
Until recently, our little slice of paradise has remained pretty much off the crime screaming headlines. Not so now. Let me put it in perspective for you.
You may have or will likely hear that 18 bodies were found “near Lake Chapala”. “Near” of course is a relative term.
From the news’ reports I’ve been able to piece together none of the 18 bodies were foreigners and “near” is about 7 or 8 miles from Lake Chapala on the far North side of the mountains that separate the Ixtlauacan from Chapala.
According to the local news accounts, some of the bodies were refrigerated, before being dumped on the rural dirt road. To me this means that the bad guys wanted to get the body count up to make their bizarre statement.
As far as I can determine NO FORIGNERS have been killed at the hands of drug lords in or near Lake Chapala in over the 10 years I’ve lived in the area.
I know of just 3 North Americans murdered in all 30 miles of the North Shore of Lake Chapala where the bulk of North Americans live.
One was a Canadian which was thought to be a case of mistaken identity many years ago. More recently two men were murdered in separate incidences while resisting attempted robberies.
My advise … “Don’t resist” unless you’ve been trained to do so.
So, three North American victims in 10 years where an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 of us live spread out over about 30 miles.
Not good, but by comparison with places like Houston, Texas where the murder rate is quoted for 2010 in an article by author Robert Reid of the Lonely Planet, as having 143 murders or a rate of 6.8 per 100 thousand which is over three times the rate for Americans in Mexico.
Doing a little math let’s use 25,000 as the number of North Americans living at Lake Chapala and multiply by 10 years to get to 250,000.
Then let’s take 3 as the number of North Americans murdered for the estimated population of 250,000 over the 10 year period and the result is 1.2 murders per 100,000 North Americans residing at Lake Chapala.
This computes to 82.4 % fewer murders than the number quoted this for Houston. Compare that number to where you live.
My disclaimer: I’m not a statistician, I’m not very good at math, and I’m aware of the old maxim that “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.”
No doubt someone smarter than me reading this can correct my math or my assumptions…. But, here’s the true bottom line. I’m not afraid to live, work, and play here and I don’t think you should be either.
But… with that being said each of us has to make our own (I hope informed) decision of where to visit, where to live, and where to retire.
I don’t live in fear and neither should you.